There comes a time in most men’s lives when treatment for erectile dysfunction goes from being some other poor bastard’s problem to something that must be seriously considered. Performance has become less reliable than in youthful glory days, and the underperformance has begun to affect self-esteem and intimate relationships.

Things can be especially confusing if you’ve been out of the loop, i.e. been off the market in those transitory years between steadfast rigidity and a feeling akin to trying to fold a California King foam mattress into the back of a minivan.

The first move you make, as with any life dilemma, is to consult the internet. There you will be inundated with information. Cut to the chase: on balance, the news on Viagra, Cialis, is pretty good. Stop beating around the bush: the news is manna from heaven. Men who once had to think about baseball statistics to depressurize can once again relive those nights on which they batted .1000.

After yet another substandard interlude (or abject failure), it’s time to call your physician. (You still need a prescription for ED drugs in the U.S., but that may change soon. Experts warn against purchasing “little blue bills” and such online.)

When you first call your general practitioner, it can be embarrassing. Before the office manager bothers the doctor with your complaint, she wants to know what you’re calling about, and she’s a woman. This time, it’s not the shingles vaccine or a prescription-strength version of the anti-chafing ointment Lanacane. This time that wonderful caregiver who gate-keeps for the doctor is asking after your most intimately-guarded secrets.

You have no choice but to divulge, and while you’re waiting for the doctor’s call-back, witticisms come to mind: “You want to make sure I’m healthy enough to have sex? That’s a chance I’m willing to take.”

You wonder if the side effect of “back pain” won’t turn out to be a positive indicator.

Long story short (ouch!), if you’re reasonably healthy your doctor will issue a trial prescription consisting of three tablets of Sildenafil. The prescription is written conditionally: you must agree to come in for a spot-check before trying to refill it, for, say, three hundred pills. You hear what the doctor is saying but you’re not really listening. You know that if the drug works the way so many men across cyberspace claim it works, you will do anything to get your hands on more.

Calling the local pharmacy yields the next revelation: The cost of the three pills will be $183.56. You experience a blood pressure-spiking attack of sticker-shock until the pharmacist’s aide informs you of a website where you can print a coupon and get the prescription for six bucks.

The next decision: will you tell your sexual partner (for the purposes of this essay, it’s a woman, OK?) that you intend to medicate in anticipation of your next sexual encounter? You decide not to, because if it doesn’t work and she knows, you’re really screwed.

Getting into TMI territory here. Let’s just say that after you pop the pill (word: on an empty stomach) there’s this clouds-parting, angels singing moment where if your chick doesn’t suspect you’ve somehow pharmaceutically shifted the paradigm she’s either dense, playing along coyly, or thinks a divine hand has intervened. (Go with #3.)

Let’s just say that Sildenafil — the generic name for Viagra for those in Rush Limbaugh’s Rio Linda — is a true wonder drug. If it works for you, and it does work for most, you’ll feel like you’re forty-three again. You may decide never to tell your partner your taking it, allowing her to marvel at you, or you may decide to tell her, allowing her to marvel at the advances of modern medicine.

You will come to accept that a slightly-stuffed nose and transient headache is the price to pay for getting it on. You will make a very real attempt to lower your cholesterol and salt intake, as your doctor has instructed, knowing that he, or possibly even that female office manager, has the power now.

Aerosmith’s “Back in The Saddle” will become life’s new soundtrack.

You’ll find yourself drawn to watching Bob Seger’s old “Like a Rock” Chevy commercials on YouTube.

You will thank the good Lord for returning you to the position of unqualified ruler of the roost and undisputed (and perhaps a tad chauvinistic) man of the house.

They say it’s tough to get old. They’re right. But with a bit of luck and some erectile dysfunction medication, you can go out smiling.

smiley face photo


Photos by mr.paille  and CreativeMagic (Pixabay)